- Chris the sheep helps attract donations
- Canberra sheep's massive fleece
- Watch the video: Chris in the wild
The animal-lover whose spotting of "Chris the sheep" and his 40-kilogram fleece saved his life believes it's "bizarre" the story has captured worldwide attention.
Chris the sheep meets his saviour
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Chris the sheep meets his saviour
Find out how Chris the record-breaking sheep was named, in the words of the woman who saved him.
"It's not about having one up on the Kiwis with his fleece, it's about the welfare of this sheep," Bonner's Sue Dowling said.
Ms Dowling noticed Chris a few months ago while walking the Centenary Trail with a fitness client, and felt "shock and horror" when they noticed his mammoth fleece in a nearby paddock.
"I thought, how could a sheep get to this size?"
"He was massively overgrown with wool, he look quite stressed. [He was] mobile, able to move around to the point he was there one day and not there the next."
She saw Chris around "half a dozen times," however in the past few weeks he had stayed in one area so she notified the RSPCA.
"I was surprised, [I thought] why hadn't this been called before? But these guys do an amazing job and all credit goes to them."
It took five staff members to help take him to the shelter.
While it's believed Chris would not have survived much longer had he not been rescued, it's not the first time Ms Dowling has saved an animal's life.
"I'm an animal person. I rescue cats, I rescued two pugs off Horse Park Drive the other day. I'm thinking what's going to happen this week?"
Ms Dowling's fitness client named the solitary sheep after an episode of the British comedy series Father Ted.
"My friend watches British TV, saw this episode [where] Chris the sheep goes missing... here we are."
RSPCA CEO Tammy Ven Dange said some favourite name requests were "Ed Sheeran," "Tony Aaaaa-bott" and "Andrew Baaaah" – politicians can't seem to escape the spotlight of many stories.
Chris is still undergoing daily vet treatment, has some minor infections and is slightly bow-legged, but is recovering well and has a healthy appetite.
"He's a bit weak in the legs from having all that weight and so much matting in that area, so his legs have been growing at a different angle than how they should have," RSPCA director of animal welfare Jane Gregor said.
"Considering he hasn't been handled in five or six years, he was pretty afraid the first few days and stomping a lot when we first went near him, but now it's only a half-hearted stomp," she said.
It's still unknown where the errant sheep once called home, despite numerous farmers trying to claim him.
"He could have come across the NSW border ... we have had farmers come to us saying it's their sheep but they haven't been able to prove his markings," RSPCA CEO Tammy Ven Dange said.
If the rightful owner comes forward, inspectors will be investigating the extent of neglect Chris experienced.
As for the wool, it will likely be displayed at the RSPCA temporarily ... but this doesn't seem good enough for some rather enthused members of the public.
"We've had everything from people wanting us to give them some of the wool to wanting us to knit it into something, and some people even wanted the daggy bits, which is pretty gross," Ms Ven Dange said.
They might have to settle with a toy "Chris the sheep" instead.
The RSPCA is offering the plush toy for online donations of more than $50 from within Australia or $100 internationally. The fundraiser page has so far received over $9000 in donations.